Thomas Scott Turnbull

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Thomas Scott Turnbull (28 October 1825 – 22 March 1880) was the son of a Newcastle saddler. He went on to open one of the largest drapery houses in Northeast England, was a founder member of a daily provincial newspaper and served as Mayor of Sunderland.

Newcastle upon Tyne City and metropolitan borough in England

Newcastle upon Tyne, commonly known as Newcastle, is a city in Tyne and Wear, North East England, 103 miles (166 km) south of Edinburgh and 277 miles (446 km) north of London on the northern bank of the River Tyne, 8.5 mi (13.7 km) from the North Sea. Newcastle is the most populous city in the North East, and forms the core of the Tyneside conurbation, the eighth most populous urban area in the United Kingdom. Newcastle is a member of the UK Core Cities Group and is a member of the Eurocities network of European cities.

Saddle supportive structure for a rider or other load, fastened to an animals back by a girth

The saddle is a supportive structure for a rider or other load, fastened to an animal's back by a girth. The most common type is the equestrian saddle designed for a horse. However, specialized saddles have been created for oxen, camels and other creatures. It is not known precisely when riders first began to use some sort of padding or protection, but a blanket attached by some form of surcingle or girth was probably the first "saddle", followed later by more elaborate padded designs. The solid saddle tree was a later invention, and though early stirrup designs predated the invention of the solid tree. The paired stirrup, which attached to the tree, was the last element of the saddle to reach the basic form that is still used today. Today, modern saddles come in a wide variety of styles, each designed for a specific equestrianism discipline, and require careful fit to both the rider and the horse. Proper saddle care can extend the useful life of a saddle, often for decades. The saddle was a crucial step in the increased use of domesticated animals, during the Classical Era.

Drapery depiction of the folds and woven patterns of loose-hanging clothing on the human form

Drapery is a general word referring to cloths or textiles. It may refer to cloth used for decorative purposes – such as around windows – or to the trade of retailing cloth, originally mostly for clothing, formerly conducted by drapers.


Early life

Thomas Scott Turnbull, the son of saddler John Turnbull, was born in Newcastle on October 28, 1825. After being educated at St Mary's School, Newcastle, he went to work for "Dunn and Bainbridge" - then the largest drapery firm in Newcastle. Turnbull soon rose to a "high position", later gaining further experience of the trade by working in several large commercial houses in London, before moving to Sunderland in 1850 and starting his own business. [1]

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Business life

Turnbull was extremely forward-thinking, introducing a system of "small profits and quick returns" at a time when established drapers gave long credit. From humble beginnings, he built up his Sunderland-based business "Albion House" into one of the largest drapery houses in Northern England. At his death, it occupied 122-126 High Street West, Sunderland, and the premises included sleeping and dining accommodation for 160 assistants, plus a library of nearly 2,500 volumes for their use. A second, smaller, Albion House drapery was also operated in Silver Street, Durham. [2] [3] [4]

Library Organized collection of books or other information resources

A library is a curated collection of sources of information and similar resources, selected by experts and made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing. It provides physical or digital access to material, and may be a physical location or a virtual space, or both. A library's collection can include books, periodicals, newspapers, manuscripts, films, maps, prints, documents, microform, CDs, cassettes, videotapes, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, e-books, audiobooks, databases, and other formats. Libraries range widely in size up to millions of items. In Latin and Greek, the idea of a bookcase is represented by Bibliotheca and Bibliothēkē : derivatives of these mean library in many modern languages, e.g. French bibliothèque.

Durham, England City in England

Durham is a historic city and the county town of County Durham in North East England. The city lies on the River Wear, to the south-west of Sunderland, south of Newcastle upon Tyne and to the north of Darlington. Founded over the final resting place of St Cuthbert, its Norman cathedral became a centre of pilgrimage in medieval England. The cathedral and adjacent 11th-century castle were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. The castle has been the home of Durham University since 1832. HM Prison Durham is also located close to the city centre. City of Durham is the name of the civil parish.

Political life

Politically, Turnbull was a Liberal. He was elected to Sunderland Town Council, representing Bridge Ward, in 1866, but retired three years later rather than standing for re-election on account of his business commitments. [5]

Liberal Party (UK) political party of the United Kingdom, 1859–1988

The Liberal Party was one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party arose from an alliance of Whigs and free trade-supporting Peelites and the reformist Radicals in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had formed four governments under William Gladstone. Despite being divided over the issue of Irish Home Rule, the party returned to government in 1905 and then won a landslide victory in the following year's general election.

It was Turnbull's interest in politics which led to his friendship, and future business partnership, with Samuel Storey. Storey, a former teacher and future MP for Sunderland, was aware of a gap in the market for a local daily newspaper, and was also keen to find a method of publicising his Radical points of view. Storey and Turnbull were two of the original seven founders of the Sunderland Echo in 1873. Each of the seven invested £500 towards the project and the paper is still published today. [6] [7] [8]

Samuel Storey (1841–1925) was a British politician born in County Durham. He became a Member of Parliament for Sunderland and the main founder of the Sunderland Echo newspaper.

Teacher person who helps others to acquire knowledge, competences or values

A teacher is a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

The term political radicalism denotes political principles focused on altering social structures through revolutionary or other means and changing value systems in fundamental ways.

Turnbull returned to politics following a seven-year break, after taking his son, Edward, into partnership. He was elected to the council in 1876, this time for Bishopwearmouth Ward, and became Mayor of Sunderland in November 1880. He died of typhoid fever, however, in March of the following year and was succeeded as Mayor by Samuel Storey. [9]

Bishopwearmouth human settlement in United Kingdom

Bishopwearmouth is an area in Sunderland, North East England.

Typhoid fever Bacterial infection cuased by Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica

Typhoid fever, also known simply as typhoid, is a bacterial infection due to a specific type of Salmonella that causes symptoms. Symptoms may vary from mild to severe, and usually begin 6 to 30 days after exposure. Often there is a gradual onset of a high fever over several days. This is commonly accompanied by weakness, abdominal pain, constipation, headaches, and mild vomiting. Some people develop a skin rash with rose colored spots. In severe cases, people may experience confusion. Without treatment, symptoms may last weeks or months. Diarrhea is uncommon. Other people may carry the bacterium without being affected; however, they are still able to spread the disease to others. Typhoid fever is a type of enteric fever, along with paratyphoid fever.

Private life

The Turnbull mausoleum, Bishopwearmouth Cemetery. Turnbull mausoleum, Bishopwearmouth Cemetery.jpg
The Turnbull mausoleum, Bishopwearmouth Cemetery.

Turnbull was a member of the Established Church and warden of St Mark's Church, Sunderland. He was survived by a widow, four sons and three daughters. He was laid to rest in the Turnbull family mausoleum at Bishopwearmouth Cemetery. [10] [11]

His son, Thomas Strover Turnbull, became the youngest winner of the boat race in 1873 with Cambridge, at the age of 18 years and 12 days, a record that stands to this day. [12]

Civic offices
Preceded by
Samuel Sinclair Robson
Mayor of Sunderland
Succeeded by
Samuel Storey

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  1. Sunderland Daily Echo, March 23, 1880
  2. Durham County Council website (2007). "Durham business". Archived from the original on 2007-10-28. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
  3. Sunderland Weekly Times, March 26, 1880
  4. Sunderland Times, September 22, 1868
  5. Sunderland Times, September 22, 1868
  6. Sunderland Daily Echo, March 23, 1880
  7. Wearsideonline website (2007). "Sunderland Echo". Archived from the original on 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
  8. Memberscox website (2007). "Founding member". Archived from the original on 2011-05-25. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
  9. Sunderland Weekly Times, March 26, 1880
  10. Sunderland Daily Echo, March 23, 1880
  11. Sunderland Daily Post, April 27, 1881
  12. Boat Race website (2011). "Boat Race: Facts & Figures". Archived from the original on 2009-02-01. Retrieved 2011-06-10.

Further reading